Ripple is facing a lawsuit from New Payments Platform Australia (NPPA) — a consortium that includes every significant bank in Australia. While court documents are yet to have been made public, it is believed the suit alleges intellectual property infringement concerning the branding of Ripple’s ‘PayID’ payment standard.
The lawsuit was reported by technology journalist Rohan Pearce on August 24, who shared a screenshot indicating that NPP Australia Limited, the operators of Australia’s interbank payments network ‘Pay ID’, had filed a suit with the Federal Court of Australia against Ripple Labs Inc.
NPPA’s payment platform is currently used by more than 60 Australian banks and allows users to send and receive money instantly 24/7 using an email address or phone number. Most cryptocurrency exchanges in the country accept fiat via PayID including Independent Reserve and BTC Markets, two members of Ripple’s Open Payments Coalition, suggesting Ripple may well have been aware of the Australian PayID brand.
It seems to come down to spacing: NPPA secured the trademark rights for ‘Pay ID’ (with a space) in March 2017, in addition to filing for the trademark for ‘PayID’ (without a space) in October 2017. However, the application for ‘PayID’ lapsed in April 2018 and no trademark was registered.
The NPPA is mutually owned by 13 banks, including major institutions ANZ, HSBC, Citi, and the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Ripple Labs filed for two ‘PayID’ trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on June 17, 2020. NPPA filed another application for the same trademark in Australia on July 24, 2020.
An online interlocutory hearing was held by the court on August 20, and a case management hearing took place on the morning of August 26th.
Ripple unveiled PayID in June when the firm launched the Open Payments coalition, with PayID slated as a means to enhance interoperability between the more than 40 corporate and non-profit coalition members.
Ripple described PayID as breaking down the myriad of siloed payment networks globally, asserting that the PayID would make transferring funds as easy as sending an email or text message.